The Situation Report: Precision Dental & CIA Modernization

White House Needs to Get Behind Precision Dental

As we reported this week, the Obama administration recently announced a series of new investments, partnerships, and policies to further the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), including $55 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Situation Report, however, would like to know why the technology revolution has completely bypassed the world of dentistry? Your humble correspondent had a close encounter with a dentist this week and found the entire experience like living through a battle scene in Conan the Barbarian.

Now, anybody who sits within 6 feet of me at the MeriTalk office can tell you that this former Marine is one big baby when it comes to going to the dentist. But there is something to be said for the utter lack of innovation that currently plagues what I’ll call the last meter in dentistry—that is the last three feet between the ax-wielding maniac in the white jacket and the delicate layer of skin that separates the roof of your mouth from your brain housing group.

Don’t get me wrong—the process of taking X-rays and using high-definition monitors to instantly view the intricate details of your soon-to-be former molar has certainly come a long way from the days when you had to go back to the waiting room and wait for your pictures to develop. Likewise, the ability of dentists to instantly call up your records while you’re sitting in the chair and know exactly what they did to you during the last visit is a nice improvement.

situation report logoBut the bone-crushing procedure that is a tooth extraction, coupled with that amazing gagging sensation that immediately draws the attention of the crazy lady holding the giant turkey baster that almost sucks your lungs out of your chest, is something right out of the Dark Ages.

Please, if somebody at NIH is reading this, put some of that $55 million toward a Precision Dental Initiative.


My listening post outside the FedRAMP Program Office has picked up some new data. Ashley Mahan, the FedRAMP evangelist, reports there are currently 24 agencies, 83 authorized cloud service providers, and 41 third-party assessment organizations taking part in the FedRAMP program.

In addition, FedRAMP is hard at work developing its own dashboard application that will be hosted on the FedRAMP website and will provide what Mahan called “near real-time authorization status” for all CSPs. That capability is slated to go operational in August, according to signals intercepted from Mahan.

Cloud Acquisitions

My remote sensor network has also intercepted reliable reports that the General Services Administration is developing a new Cloud IDIQ contract for fiscal year 2018. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract will provide pre-negotiated ceiling prices for cloud services with standard baseline agency requirements, similar to the IT Schedule 70 and the Email-as-a-service (EaaS) blanket purchase agreement.

If any agency chief information officer is unsure about how to “get to the cloud,” we’ve intercepted reliable information that GSA’s Cloud Computing Program Office will provide free guidance on market research, and full scope reviews for cloud statements of work, performance work statements, statements of objectives, and other acquisition documents.

CIA Modernization & Encryption

CIA Director John Brennan told a few hundred guests of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance this week that the agency’s restructuring—which features the creation of a fifth directorate focused on digital innovation—has finally overcome whatever minor opposition was first encountered.

CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks to INSA members July 19, 2016.
CIA Director John Brennan speaks to INSA members on July 19. (Photo: INSA)

“What I’ve said to our people is, we’re not trying to homogenize everybody to create a single intelligence officer,” Brennan said, according to intercepted signals from this week’s INSA Leadership Dinner in Tysons Corner, Va. “There is great pride in being a case officer, an operations officer, great pride in being what I think is the gold standard of analysis in being an analyst in the CIA.  So we want to try to leverage that pride, but bring it together so that they are able to interact with one another in a manner that empowers both their capabilities and mission.”

Brennan also reiterated his earlier calls for a congressional commission to foster dialogue with government and industry about the use of encryption and government’s role in the digital world.

“The government wants encryption; the government wants strong encryption,” Brennan said. “I do think there needs to be a much more candid discussion and honest discussion publicly about the role of government in the digital domain.  This is what is really, I think, going to affect our ability as a government, as an intelligence community, to keep this country safe.”